Google Announces Transition from Smart Shopping/Local Ads to Performance Max Campaigns

Google has announced they will begin transitioning advertisers on their platform who run Smart Shopping and Local campaigns into the new Performance Max campaigns starting in April of 2022. 

The shift is due in large part to the success they had over the most recent holiday season, and a growing consensus that the omnichannel experience is essential to success for eCommerce retailers. 

Google Performance Max will be replacing Smart Shopping and Local Ads

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According to Google, 54% of shoppers used 5 or more channels, live video and social media, over a two day span to shop this past holiday season.

These findings. among other highly positive indicators, have fueled Google’s decision to move forward with the transition, including a 12% increase in conversion value after switching according to early testing.

But before we talk more about that, let’s first talk about exactly what a Performance Max campaign is.

What is a Performance Max Campaign?

Google Performance Max Campaigns are a new machine learning-based campaign type which combines essentially all of the Google Ads inventory from within one single campaign setup. 

With the help of automated bidding, such as Target ROAS or Target CPA, Googles’ system can serve and optimize ads in real-time across all of their channels – YouTube, Search, Display, G-mail, Maps, and Discover. 

Google channels where Performance Max campaigns will show ads

The goal here is to present ads everywhere your customers can be found within Google’s ecosystem as a part of a broader multi-channel marketing plan. 

Combined with audience signals, high quality copy, imagery and video input by you, these campaigns can broaden your reach to not only convert those who should convert, but also reveal high intent user segments that you weren’t aware of previously. 

Additionally, advertisers will gain access to new reporting and insights that will help you understand how Google’s Machine Learning is working for your business. 

Google Performance Max campaign trends on the new Insights page

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When Do Retailers Need To Switch?

Google will open up their transition process for Smart Shopping in April and the Local Ads in June. 

The goal is to have everyone moved over by the start of Q4 and the holiday season. 

To ramp up efforts, they will begin automatically moving campaigns over starting in July to complete the process for those who may be out of the loop. 

How Can You Change Your Campaigns?

Google has 3 different ways they detail for advertisers to change over their Smart Shopping and/or Local Ads campaigns into Performance Max Campaigns by the Q4 deadline. 

Manually Create a New Performance Max Campaign

This is the most obvious choice, and can be done at any time from now until the deadline. If you take this route, your best bet would just be to create the new campaign with the old still running and start running some tests to get a feel for performance. 

Ultimately, once you’re ready you would just pause your old Smart Shopping or Local Ad campaigns and run exclusively Performance Max. 

Upgrade With Google’s One-Click Tool

Google will unveil a one-click upgrade tool for Performance Max Campaigns

The tool will be unveiled at different times depending on which campaign type you are upgrade.

For those who are upgrading from Smart Shopping, the tool will become available starting in April. If you’re upgrading from Local Ads, the tool will be available starting in June. 

This appears to be the smoothest transition option. The basic gist is that Google’s one-click tool will allow you to upgrade campaigns through their wizard. 

Once you select the campaign(s) you want to upgrade, their tool imports the data and AI knowledge from the old campaigns and applies it to the new Performance Max campaign.

This will help to maintain performance as you transition out of your old campaigns and into a new one. 

Automatic Upgrade

From July through September, any Smart Shopping or Local Ads campaign that are not upgrade to Performance Max will be automatically upgraded by Google.

Once the upgraded has been completed, you will not be able to manage the old campaign any longer. 

Being that there is no set date for when this will happen, your best bet is to ensure you transition before this period of time.

This will give you plenty of time to adjust your strategy for the busiest time of the year in Q4. 

Performance Max Will Compliment Your Other Ads Well

Google has gone to great lengths to ensure these new campaigns will not interfere with other campaign types you have active. 

In fact, they’ve laid out a pretty extensive playbook for how you can work these campaigns in conjunction with other ad types. 

How to use Performance Max with other campaign types

Wrapping Up

Google’s new Performance Max campaigns will be taking over for Smart Shopping and Local Ads beginning in the Spring, with the final deadline for the switch set for September. 

There are a few ways you can go about upgrading your campaigns if you need to, and Google has made it pretty easy to do so.

As a Premier Partner, Sales & Orders is equipped to assist you with the change with in-depth knowledge and experience already with Performance Max campaigns. 

If you have any questions or are in need of assistance, reach out to our team and we’ll be happy to help!